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Private Military Companies: Ethics and responsibility

Written by Dayle Harvey, Nour Engueleguele, Cédric Foisseau, Elsie Kiarie.

The private military industry is subdivided into four sectors, namely: Private Military Companies, Private Security Firms, mercenaries and private militias or warlords. All these organisations operate under the security and defence spectrum. Private Military Companies (PMCs) are corporations that partake in military and security-related tasks in conflict or unstable zones. They are legally established multinational enterprises that are well organised and equipped. As new actors in international security, PMCs challenge the traditional sphere of state influence and authority (Kinsey C., 2006). By offering services that are usually exclusively provided by states, they bring controversy on the sovereignty and legitimacy of states (Jäger, Kümmel & Ortiz, 2007:56). Either way, PMCs have a strategic impact on the management of the state’s defence and security functions (Jäger, Kümmel & Ortiz, 2007:59). An analysis of PMCs’ pros and cons is imperative for policymakers to formulate proper regulations and responsibilities for these firms and decide whether their use is essential in supporting humanitarian and national interests in a complex and an ever-increasing hostile world.